When not managed properly, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and blindness among adults. We often speak about the different types of diabetes and their causes, but one particular topic that is often overlooked is the importance of diabetes management. Individuals living with diabetes have to worry about their health more than others. This article will discuss the different variables that people living with diabetes have to manage, such as blood sugar levels, diet, and medications, to ensure a long and healthy life.
Blood Sugar Levels:
For people with diabetes, it’s important to keep blood sugar levels at the recommended target range as much as possible to help prevent serious health problems. Knowing what causes your blood sugar to fluctuate is the first step in setting the goal to maintain your target range.
Things that make blood sugar increase:
- A meal or snack with more food or more carbohydrates than usual
- Side effects of medications
- Infection or other illness
- Changes in hormone levels, such as during menstrual periods
Things that can make blood sugar fall include:
- A meal or snack with less food or fewer carbohydrates than usual
- Extra activity
- Side effects of other medications
- Missing a meal or snack
- Drinking alcoholic beverages (especially on an empty stomach)
Staying in your target range can also help improve your energy and mood.1
Checking Your Blood Sugar:
It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels. There are two different tools that can be used to do this. A blood sugar meter (also called a glucometer) measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip, while a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. However, with a CGM test, you’ll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
The type of diabetes that you have determines how often you have to check your blood sugar levels. It is recommended that you check your blood sugar: 2
- When you first wake up
- Before a meal
- Two hours after a meal
- At bedtime
Because diabetes can cause serious health issues, a healthy diet can make a huge difference in your health. A healthy diabetes diet basically means consuming the healthiest food, in moderate amounts, and at regular mealtimes.
Like most healthy diets, a diabetes diet usually includes naturally rich nutrients and is low in fat and calories. The key ingredients are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Most doctors recommend speaking with a dietitian to help you develop a healthy nutritional plan. The plan helps you control your blood sugar, manage your weight, and control heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure. 3
Not following a diabetes diet can result in overconsumption, which can cause a rise in blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are not kept at the recommended target level, it can lead to serious long-term complications, such as nerve, kidney, and heart damage.
You can help keep your blood glucose level in a safe range by making healthy food choices and tracking your eating habits.
People with Type 1 diabetes have to use insulin, which is a medication designed to lower blood sugar levels. However, people with type 2 diabetes, may have different treatment plans depending on the person. Some people can manage it with healthy eating and exercise, while others may also need to use insulin.
When it comes to insulin, there are three important terms: onset, peak time, and duration. The onset is how long it takes for the insulin to start lowering your blood sugar. The peak time is when it’s at its maximum strength, and duration is how long it continues to work. There are different types of insulin:
- Rapid-acting insulin: begins to work about 15 minutes after injection, peaks in about 1 hour, and continues to work for 2 to 4 hours
- Regular or short-acting insulin: usually reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes after injection, peaks anywhere from 2 to 3 hours after injection, and is effective for approximately 3 to 6 hours
- Intermediate-acting insulin: generally reaches the bloodstream about 2 to 4 hours after injection, peaks 4 to 12 hours later, and is effective for about 12 to 18 hours
- Long-acting insulin: reaches the bloodstream several hours after injection and tends to lower glucose levels fairly evenly over a 24-hour period. 4
At Treasure Valley Metabolic Medicine – We Provide Long-Term Diabetes Management Solutions
No matter where you are in the process, TVMM looks at your metabolic health to develop custom solutions for pre-diabetes as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Our programs are focused on producing long-term results and optimal outcomes. Our patients receive personalized medication, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle techniques to achieve their long-term weight management goals and help them live the healthy life they desire.
Contact us at (208) 274-9580 today to learn more.
- Blood Sugar and Insulin at Work | ADA. (n.d.). Diabetes.Org. Retrieved April 25, 2022, from https://www.diabetes.org/tools-support/diabetes-prevention/high-blood-sugar
- Manage Blood Sugar. (2021, April 28). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/manage-blood-sugar.html
- Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan. (2021, March 25). Https://Www.Mayoclinic.Org/Diseases-Conditions/Diabetes/in-Depth/Diabetes-Diet/Art-20044295. Retrieved April 25, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art-20044295
- Oral medications: Getting it right. (n.d.). Oral Medications: Getting It Right. Retrieved April 25, 2022, from https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments